Colorado Springs Divorce
Divorce is known as one of the most stressful events that a person can undergo. In addition to the emotional aspect, many matters must be addressed, including property division, child custody and parenting time, and potentially spousal support. Every aspect of divorce affects your future.
I understand how difficult this time is.
In addition to advocating for your interests and goals, my role as a Colorado Springs Divorce Attorney is to reduce your stress so that you can move forward in your life during this difficult time. I do so by:
- Meeting with you to learn about your situation and objectives;
- Explaining how the law applies to various aspects of your divorce;
- Answering any questions that you have;
- Assuming all aspects of legal representation, including preparing the required court filings and negotiating on your behalf;
- Working with you to develop a strategy for achieving your goals; and
- Representing you in mediations and at trial if that becomes necessary.
Take Control of Your Divorce
One aspect of divorce that may cause stress is the feeling that the divorce process is outside a person’s control.
I help clients take control of their divorce and to regain a sense of security. Together, we will formulate a strategy for both identifying and seeking the best outcome possible for you. I will advise you of the issues that need to be addressed and discuss with you the options for resolving them. With a plan in place, much of the stress associated with a divorce can be reduced.
How Much Will My Divorce Cost?
There are several factors that affect the cost of a divorce. Key factors include the following:
- Will the divorce be contested?
- Are there children involved?
- If children are involved, will custody be contested?
- What is the financial complexity of the assets that need to be divided?
- Is there a family business?
- Are there retirement and pension plans involved?
- Will either of the spouses be seeking support?
At the outset of an engagement, when I learn about the nature of your divorce, I can advise of the retainer that will be required, as well as other matters concerning legal fees. Typically, at this time I can also provide a likely range of what a divorce might cost based upon my understanding of the matters involved.
While I endeavor to provide clients with a reasonable expectation of fees and costs likely to be incurred, it is important to understand that there are many developments that can occur that may affect the final legal fee. For instance, , if parenting or property division matters are expected to be resolved amicably but become contentious, legal fees will likely increase based upon the additional time required. On the other hand, if the divorce starts out contentiously but is able to be resolved through mediation, the cost of the divorce will be less.
What are the Requirements for Getting a Divorce in Colorado?
Colorado has a residency requirement for those seeking divorce. This residency requirement provides that at least one of the couples seeking a divorce must have lived in Colorado for at least 90 days.
Understanding Colorado Divorce Law
Colorado has adopted the Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act. This Act sets forth numerous provisions concerning matters such as property division, spousal support, and how parenting time matters should be determined by the courts. In most divorces, these matters are worked out between the divorcing spouses, rather than having the court decide such matters.
At the outset of a divorce, one of my roles is to answer client questions, and to explain how property division, spousal support, and parenting matters are treated in Colorado. Then, after learning about a client’s objectives in these matters, I can explain various strategies available to seek those objectives.
My Spouse Cheated on Me – Can I Get More Assets or Minimize Their Parenting Time?
These are commonly asked questions. The answer to both questions is “no.”
If you are divorcing in Colorado, you are not entitled to more assets or to more parenting rights simply because your spouse cheated or otherwise “caused” your divorce.
Is Colorado a “No-Fault” State for Divorce?
In the United States, states may either be an “at fault” state or a “no fault state.” Colorado is a “no-fault” state.
As a no-fault state, a person filing for a divorce does not have to allege that the other person did anything to “cause” the divorce. Instead, the person filing for divorce need only assert that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
In contrast, “fault” states typically require that one spouse allege that the other spouse has engaged in conduct that is legally-recognized as grounds for a divorce, such as marital infidelity or mental cruelty. Courts in these states must thus find that at least one of the spouses has engaged in such conduct in order to grant a divorce.
Is Colorado a “Community Property” State?
No, Colorado is not a community property state. Instead, it is an “equitable distribution” state.
In community property states, generally all property that is acquired by spouses during a marriage are considered to be legally owned equally by each of the spouses, regardless of which spouse’s name may be on legal title to the property. Because property is owned equally in such states, the courts must adhere to property division based upon such ownership interests. Colorado courts, however, are charged with dividing “marital assets” in an “equitable” manner, as discussed below.
What Assets are Considered “Martial Assets” in Colorado?
In Colorado, assets generally acquired during a marriage are considered “marital assets.” Thus, even if the other spouse’s name is on a car title or a deed to a home, the courts will usually treat such asset as if both spouse’s names were on the title or deed.
Will Assets Acquired Prior to Marriage be Considered “Marital Property” in Colorado?
Property acquired prior to marriage may (or may not) be considered marital property. For example, a home or vehicle acquired prior to the marriage may not be considered a marital asset if title has not been changed to include both spouses.
However, the courts may find that an asset has become a martial asset under certain circumstances. In the case of a house, if the spouse who did not originally purchase the home contributes to mortgage and tax payments and other expenses required for upkeep, a court may find that the non-purchasing spouse acquired at least some rights in and to the property. Additionally, if the home is refinanced and both spouses are now responsible for the mortgage, that too may lead the court to find the house has been converted to a martial asset.
Is an Inheritance a Marital Asset in Colorado?
The initial amount of an inheritance is generally not considered a martial asset in Colorado. However, if the inheritance is commingled with martial property (such as being placed in a joint bank account or used to purchase joint personal property, such as a car), the inheritance will likely become a marital asset and subject to equitable division between the spouses.
Although the initial amount of the inheritance will not likely become a marital asset if it is segregated, gains on the inheritance amount will be treated as a marital asset, even if such amounts are kept in a segregated account. Thus, if the inheritance funds are placed into a separate investment account, and the account realizes gains over the years from stock appreciation, the amount of the appreciation is likely a marital asset, since the gains will have accrued during the marriage.
The determination of what constitutes a marital asset can be complex and fact-specific. Once I know more about your circumstances, I can advise you how the law is likely to apply to your circumstances.
How are Marital Assets Divided in Colorado?
In Colorado, the courts are required to divide assets “equitably.” Equitable does not necessarily mean equally. For example, the courts will take numerous factors into consideration, such as which spouse may have primary custody of the children, in determining how assets are to be divided.
How are Child Custody and Parenting Time Determined in Colorado?
In Colorado, the courts must follow § 14-10-124 of the Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act. Among other matters, this statute addresses the considerations for child custody and parenting time.
It’s important to note that Colorado no longer users terms such as “legal custody” or “physical custody.” Instead, these terms are covered under the general category called “parental responsibilities” and the two sub-categories – “decision making” and “parenting time.”
How Will the Law Apply to My Divorce? What are My Rights?
If you’re going through a divorce, I understand that you will have many questions concerning your rights to assets, whether you will be responsible for various debts, what custody and parenting rights you may have, or whether you may be required to pay (or be entitled to receive) child and spousal support.
Once I know about your situation, I can explain how Colorado divorce laws will apply, the range of outcomes possible, and the opportunities and strategies that may be best suited to your goals.
How are Military Divorces Handled in Colorado?
With a couple of important exceptions, the same rules that apply to civilians getting a divorce also apply to divorces involving active military personnel. There are, however, special circumstances that need to be considered, such as retirement pay and when one of the spouses is deployed.
Can My Divorce Be Handled Amicably?
Most of us are familiar with the horror stories about people going through nasty divorces. The reality is, however, that done correctly, divorce does not have to be a bitter fight.
My focus is on helping clients identify their key objectives and preferred outcomes. For instance, Colorado requires that property be divided equitably, and presumes that children will benefit through having quality time with both parents. Colorado courts will not consider issues such as marital infidelity, no matter how painful the issue is, unless it affects the well-being of the child(ren). By properly avoiding the issues that may be difficult for the client and unhelpful (or worse) in the court’s eyes, we can reduce the stress of the divorce by concentrating on the ultimate long-term goals.
Is it in My Best Interests to Reach Decisions Outside of Court?
It is usually in the best interests of the parties involved to negotiate a “global” settlement – one concerning all aspects of the divorce / custody issues. While resolving these issues may not be easy, it’s almost always preferable for divorcing spouses to be able to determine exactly how these matters will be resolved rather than leaving the outcome up to the judge, who:
- Will not have the same vested interests that each spouse has in the outcome; and
- Will not have same the flexibility that divorcing spouses will have in crafting creative solutions.
As Your Lawyer, I Will Work to Develop Creative Solutions Around the Areas that are the Most Important to You
Good divorce attorneys seek to achieve the desired outcomes of their clients, while maintaining the flexibility of mediation and collaboration whenever possible. Developing creative solutions will often be helpful in reaching acceptable outcomes to otherwise seemingly impossible differences. As a result, a critical part of my representation in a divorce concerns working with clients on developing unique solutions to matters that may otherwise be highly-contested.
There are, however, some situations in which trial may be inevitable. As a former top-ranked litigator in the United States Air Force, I’ve represented clients in numerous trials. This experience allows me to understand the difficulties which will exist at trial and how to best overcome them.
Call Me to Get Started Today
I offer a free 30-minute consultation so that you can meet with me to discuss your case and consider options for the best way forward. I also provide my clients affordable fees, and accept credit cards for my clients’ convenience.